Former U.S. Senators J. Robert Kerrey and John C. Danforth today released an update of a 1994 commission report on entitlement and tax reform and called on Americans — particularly presidential hopefuls — to address the nation’s fiscal challenges.
A bipartisan majority of the original Kerrey-Danforth commission warned that the federal budget was on an unsustainable path. Today’s report says that remains true, despite some positive changes over the last two decades.
The two former senators put together their update in collaboration with The Concord Coalition. The report was to be discussed this afternoon at a program at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, co-hosted by the BPC and Concord.
Kerrey and Danforth say it is particularly critical for the 2016 presidential candidates to “prominently and candidly address” the problems reviewed in the new report.
The 1994 panel agreed on seven key findings that Kerrey and Danforth say remain valid today.
These findings call for taking immediate action to protect America’s children from unfair fiscal burdens, raising national savings, preventing entitlements from rapidly consuming more and more of the federal budget, taking account of projected increases in health care costs, taking account of demographic changes, bringing Medicare spending and revenues available to the program into long-term balance, and doing the same with Social Security.
Also scheduled to speak at today’s program were G. William Hoagland, BPC senior vice president; Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director.
Kerrey and Danforth describe their new report as a challenge to a new generation of fiscal leaders: “Take up this cause. Do what our generation of leaders has failed to do. Solve this problem.”